Who was not in Venice is planning to go. And who has visited Venice is planning to come back once. It is a destination where you can get quite cheap tickets. Either for a bus or for a plane. And I dare to say that many of you want to try the Gondola. Well, what if you can avoid this tourist trap and enjoy this unique city in a unique way and have much more fun? Spring is here, and I that reminds me that you can paddle through Venice on a sea kayak.
If I did not paddle with Jiri, it would not come to my mind. Because all I can imagine when you say Venice is Gondolas and motor boats. The fact is that kayak can get you to places where even the Gondola can’t go. Some streets do not have sidewalks. Just imagine it. Being in the middle of such a busy city, yet hide from everyone. You will see Venice as never before, in a way that can’t be seen otherwise. You will paddle under many bridges sometimes you will have to lie down on a kayak to pass. You discover secret gardens and courtyards. You will paddle alongside the Gondolas and motor boats. And do parts of the Grand Canal. You will also see with your own eyes how big boats and fast motorboats are destroying Venice. As the water, they displace slowly, unobtrusively, but certainly spreads the cracks between stones and bricks just below the water level. And you’ll see jellyfish. This experience gives Venice a new dimension.
Before we arrived in Venice, I wrote to Venice Kayak, they have been organizing kayak tours for the last 10 years. The founder and owner, René Seindal, was kind enough to provide us with a place to sleep and store out kayak equipment. As a bonus, we could join any trip they had on the program. We tried two. One half-day and one historical full-day in Venice. We did not go for the lagoon tour. The experience was phenomenal and I think you should definitely not miss it.
The Venice Kayak can be found on the island of Certosa, which can be reached via the local line 4.1 or 4.2, depending on where you go from. If you go from the main station or from San Marco, use the line 4.1. One ticket will cost you 1.50 € and is valid 75 minutes. The meeting place is easily found on the island. The office is in the first building on your left side when you come from the station. And if you miss it you can ask in the restaurant.
What to prepare for
You do not need any extra equipment with you. Jackets, vests, paddles, dry bags and kayaks…they will lend you all needed. If you do not have a waterproof camera, consider taking it with you. Still, the water is salty and the camera can be destroyed just with one, single drop. Plus, the guides will take photos while during your tour and sent them to you right after your tours ends. I would also recommend taking a bottle of water with you.
Before you get on a kayak, your guide will explain the safety rules. He also makes sure you can paddle forward, backwards, stop the kayak or turn it (down and right). Before you get to the narrow avenues of Venice you have to cross the channel between the island and the city. This is the first test of your abilities. If there are any problems, a motorboat will come to you. Security is here in the first place.
You can also take your children to the tour. Older 8 years can go on a kayak themselves, the younger will sit in a double kayak with you. At the end of the tour, you can take a shower in the marina.
How to choose the right tour?
Decide according to what you want to see. Take the Venice Lagoon Route to explore the fauna and flora. Or (my recommendation) you can paddle through the channels of Venice. There are many possibilities in length and time. Personally, I took part in the morning shorter route and all-day historical route which I really enjoyed. Rene knows so much about the history of Venice. During the route, you will learn information that will amaze you, or at least surprise you. For example, do you know when most of the bridges were built in Venice and why? Do you know what the coats of arms are on the bridges means? Do you know how Venice was protected from raiders earlier?
For how much?
The morning tour cost 95 € per person. The length is about 3 hours. If you compare that to the ride on a Gondola boat, you can get just 30 minutes ride for almost the same price (90 €). The day trip cost 125 € and be ready for 5 hours of paddling. There is a lunch break for all-day routes. The price is between 10-15 € per person, but you can pack your own snack. See more information on the price page.
So, are you into it?
And do not forget to see video from our ride made by Kayak Around Europe.